Visiting Fellows ~ 2021-2022

Jason MastJason Mast, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow, University of Trento and Yale University

Jason L Mast is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Research Fellow at the University of Trento and Yale University. Funded by the Horizon2020 program of the European Commission, Mast’s research investigates “cultural codes in crisis” in three series of events that occurred during the second decade of the twenty-first century: the rise of Trumpism in the US, the prelude to the Brexit vote in the UK, and the successes of the far right in Germany. Currently, he is focusing primarily on the rise of populism in the U.S., and explaining Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election. Cultural forms like codes and narratives, and processes like social performances and dramas, are central themes in this work. Some of his recent writings can be found in the edited volumes, Populism in the Civil Sphere (2021, Polity), and Politics of Meaning /Meaning of Politics: Cultural Sociology of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election (2019, Palgrave Macmillan) (Visiting Faculty Fellow).

Jan VanaJan Vana, Masaryk University, Czechia

Jan Váňa finished his dissertation thesis at the Department of Sociology at Masaryk University in Brno and as a Junior Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. In his research “Towards a Strong Program in the Sociology of Literature”, he develops a sociological model for approaching literary fiction as an autonomous source of social knowledge. His dissertation thesis explores aesthetic and emotional aspects of communism in the 1970s and 1980s Czechoslovakia through selected Czech novels. The research topics include the sociology of literature, literary sociology and sociological fiction, sociological theory, and cultural sociology. He was awarded the Miloslav Petrusek Prize for the best student article in the Czech Republic two times (2019 and 2021).

His long-term interest is in transgressing the institutional boundaries between social sciences and literature, which he also pursues by publishing socially engaged/sociological fiction. He participated in literary residencies in Kraków, Poland (2019) and Broumov Monastery, Czech Republic (2020) with his project on promoting social issues through fiction. In 2017, he published a poetry collection Horizont očekávání (Horizon of Expectations, Weles, Brno).

His creative writing was published in several Czech and international journals and received several awards (recently the first place in the Brno Short Story Writing Contest). (Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow)

Tracy AdamsTracy Adams, Weiss-Livnat International Center for Holocaust Research and Education, University of Haifa, Israel

Tracy Adams is a research associate at the Weiss-Livnat International Center for Holocaust Research and Education, University of Haifa. Her Ph.D., from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, focused on ‘traveling’ collective memory and the many ways in which memory is mobilized in political rhetoric. Her research interests include the intersection of memory, conflict, culture, and politics and how meaning is constructed through interactive processes of negotiation. She has been published in the British Journal of Sociology, the International Journal of Comparative Sociology, The Sociological Quarterly, Review of International Studies, and Memory Studies(CCS Postdoctoral Fellow)

Federico BrandmayrFederico Brandmayr, The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale

Federico Brandmayr is a Postdoctoral Associate at the MacMillan Center at Yale University. He holds degrees from the University of Trieste (Italy) and Sorbonne University (France), and was previously Research Associate at CRASSH, University of Cambridge (United Kingdom). His research examines social science as a cultural system. In particular, he studies the use of social and historical research in legal and political contexts, the social effects imputed to scientific knowledge, and the variety of epistemic cultures in the social sciences. He is currently working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled Exculpatory Knowledge: How and Why Social Science Becomes Apologetic, on what it means to say that research in the social sciences excuses, justifies, or normalizes harmful practices and institutions. (CCS Visiting Fellow).

Renxue WanRenxue Wan, Fudan University, China

Renxue Wan started her doctoral study in sociology at Fudan University in the year 2018. Now she is a third year PhD candidate specializing in cultural sociology and sociology of work.

Renxue has a general research interest in how the meaning of beauty is shaped in the nexus of labor, production and consumption. Drawing on the theory of performativity of icons, she is now examining the work process of Chinese “social media influencers/celebrities” specialized in modeling and make-up on “Dou Yin” (Chinese version of Tik-Tok). Her research mainly concerns 1)the exploration on the development of a culture of “lookism” in China which makes the background representation 2)the iconic strategies that influencers devise following the iconic scripts drawn by managers and brokers from MCN companies(directors); 3)the dynamic responses and negotiations that take place between influencers and the followers(audience), and the consequence of such negotiations.

Renxue’s doctoral dissertation examines how aesthetic negotiations among fitness trainers and their clients over body, gender and class on the shop floor constitute a “neo-beauty culture” in contemporary China in the face of social fragmentation. One of the chapters of her dissertation has won the award as the best presentation at the 8th Global Social Sciences Graduate e-Conference. (CCS Visiting Graduate Student)

Javier Perez JaraJavier Pérez-Jara, Beijing Foreign Studies University, China

Javier Pérez-Jara’s work focuses on cultural sociology, epistemology, and metaphysics. After obtaining his PhD in Philosophy at the University of Seville, he did postdoctoral studies at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Sociology. Among his publications, he is co-editor (with Gustavo Romero and Lino Camprubí) of Contemporary Materialism. Its Ontology and Epistemology (Springer’s Synthese Library), and co-author (with Lino Camprubí) of Science and Apocalypse in Bertrand Russell (Lexington Books, forthcoming).

Pérez-Jara has held visiting positions across the world, including Stanford University, Kyoto University, Kyoto Sangyo University, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the University of Seville, Fu Jen Catholic University, and Minzu University of China. Since 2015 he is an Assistant Professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, where he teaches Social Theory, Philosophy, and Critical Thinking courses. (Visiting Fellow, Fall 2021)

Stephen OstertagStephen Ostertag, Tulane University

Stephen F. Ostertag, Ph.D. is an associate professor of sociology at Tulane University. His scholarship is in cultural sociology, (social) media, (citizen) news, and disaster recovery. To a lesser extent, he also works on crime and punishment, racism and social movements. He often uses these areas to engage ongoing questions of reciprocity and trust, action and performance, social inclusion and exclusion. He is currently completing a book titled “Connecting after Chaos: Social Media and Creating Order in the Aftermath of Disaster” which looks at citizen news, cultural causality and blog use in the long-term recovery from hurricane Katrina (under contract with NYU Press).  His next project involves examining Joseph Campbell’s work on mythology and folklore to engage questions about modern/premodern, professional/amateur, difference/similarity, and how these are conceptualized and practiced in cultural sociology and the scholarship on news, rumor and storytelling. (Visiting Faculty Fellow, Fall 2021)

Nadya JaworskyAgata RejowskaJagiellonian University, Poland

Agata Rejowska is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Sociology, Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Currently she is the principal investigator for the project Humanist marriages as social performances. The reconstruction of meanings, funded by the Polish National Science Centre. Since 2019 she has also been a member of the research group for the project Resistance and Subordination. Religious Agency of Roman Catholic Women in Poland, also funded by the Polish National Science Centre. She has authored several publications, among others in journals such as Sociology of Religion or Social Compass.  (CCS Visiting Graduate Student)